Council Bill Aims to Give People With Criminal Records a Better Chance in Job Market

NY1 News 4/29/14

City officials on Tuesday announced a bill aimed at giving people with criminal records a better chance in the job market.

It’s called the NYC Fair Chance Act.

The legislation would ban the box on job applications where employers ask whether a job applicant has been convicted of a crime.

It would require employers to make a conditional job offer before asking about a candidate’s criminal history or researching it themselves.

City Councilman Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn is introducing the measure.

He said he doesn’t want former convicts to pay for their mistakes twice.

“They do their time, and we want to make sure that we say when they’re finished that we want to welcome you back into society, particularly if you’re saying you want to be a productive resident,” Williams said. “And in order to be a productive resident, you have to have employment.”

“I didn’t think I could get a job either with the past history and stuff like that,” said Shane Johnson, an ex-convict. “Now, I’m just here trying to help my community out and seeing what we can do to get rid of this box.”

City agencies and human service contractors are already prohibited from asking applicants about criminal history.

The bill would extend that to any public or private employer.

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